South Africa is a maritime nation whose economy and security are derived from the safe, unhindered and free passage of shipping. Its dependency on seaborne imports and exports for almost all its trade has led many to describe it as an ‘island economy’. South Africa occupies a unique geostrategic location astride one of the world’s key shipping routes. The extent of South Africa’s maritime zones also places the enormous scale of the country’s maritime domain awareness (MDA) task in context. Shipping movements are extensive through these substantial areas. MDA is an important enabler for South Africa’s security and for the protection of its waters and maritime interests beyond its Exclusive Economic Zone. Greater numbers of ships, larger protected areas at sea requiring protection, increasing maritime insecurity and a growing reliance on shipping means that states such as South Africa must prioritise and improve maritime security. South Africa has a need for a greater strategic and coordinated approach to delivering more effective maritime surveillance, leading to better maritime domain awareness and enhanced maritime security through optimal use of its capabilities.
About the authors
Timothy Walker joined the ISS in 2011. He is a senior researcher and project leader working on maritime security for the Peace Operations and Peacebuilding Programme in Pretoria. His areas of interest include maritime security, piracy, the blue economy, China-Africa relations, international relations theory and human security. He has a master’s degree in political and international studies from Rhodes University.
Denys Reva joined the ISS in 2016. He is a research officer working on maritime security for the Peace Operations and Peacebuilding Programme in Pretoria. His areas of interest include maritime security, piracy, the blue economy, peacebuilding and violence prevention. He has a master’s degree in security studies from the University of Pretoria.
Picture: BS Halpern (Hengl; Groll)/Wikimedia Commons